How To Use Anchor Fingers

Anchor finger is a simple but effective trick for fast chord changes!

View the full lesson at How To Use Anchor Fingers | JustinGuitar

Hey Justin, A Hi to you from India! Thanks for the free guitar course! I used a tip for myself, so I’d like to tell u about it. I played the A-Chord faster since I realized it was easier and faster to do it the A-Chord compared to the D chord and got 34 Chord changes on my 7th try!

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Hello @RayKonik and welcome to the community.

You mention having a tip but do not give your tip.

Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide & Moderator

I’d really like to know the tip as well.

Hi all. I’m a total beginner and I’m having a great time BUT for the life of me I can’t figure out how to switch between the A and D chords smoothly. Going from D to A is no problem, but when I go from A to D this is what happens:

  • I lift fingers 2 and 3 then
  • I put down finger 2 then
  • I put down finger 3

But of course, I should be putting finger 2 and 3 down simultaneously… right?

Any tips on how to get this right? :sweat_smile:

Hi Monica and welcome to the Community. All I would day is just practicing perfect chord changes and one minute changes over and over again until it clicks. Just make sure you are not rushing, use your metronome start slow and build up the speed. It takes time for your brain to remember how to lay fingers in a shape simultaneously. All the best :blush:


Hi Monica and Welcome :wave:

I would not worry too much at this stage as you are just starting out. Yes ideally the fingers should land together but its common for them to go down one at a time. The more you practice, that placement will become quicker until you do land at the same time. Try not to think about it and that will happen quicker and all of a sudden. Its more important that all 3 fingers are on the right frets and the chord is clean. As @adi_mrok Adi says Perfect Chords and one minute changes will help but take your time, its early days !



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@TheMadman_tobyjenner @adi_mrok

Hey guys thank you for the replies! Guess it’s one of those things where you just gotta practice and it will eventually fall into place. Only been playing for a week now but I’ve already seen that happen with other things… For example chord shapes that were a total disaster (muting other strings, pain, etc.) at first and then worked like magic the next day :wink: Thanks for the reassurance!



We’ve all been there at one time or another and also hit the same issues learning new chords around the neck. Some times its all about patience and persistence.



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Hello @mrsbot welcome to the Community.
Good advice from Adiran and Toby and good reflective wisdom from you.
It will come.
Cheers :smiley:
| Richard_close2u | JustinGuitar Official Guide & Moderator

Is it okay to use two anchor fingers? When switching from A to D chord I find it easier to just slide my ring finger down a fret on the same string and just move my middle finger from D string to E string and it produces the same result. Is this building a bad habit?

Hey that’s great Carlos.

Ultimately, it’s about your fingers learning ‘reference points’ on the neck so that you can change chords without looking.

I think Justin starts with the single finger because it links a few beginner open chords together that he is teaching in the early modules, but the same principle can be applied all over the neck.

I think that’s why the changes exercises are so successful, we are all slightly different and need to find individual ways to do things sometimes.

@Richard_close2u Can switching between D, A & E be called anchoring too? Since the first finger always stay on the same string, and you’re just sliding it between frets.

I don’t like the term “anchor”… it implies something heavy, rigid, immobile…

…the exact opposite of the feelings you should be experiencing when playing guitar, which are ease, agility, lightness, etc (granted, it may take quite a bit of practice for this to develop)

I prefer terms like “guide fingers” or “pivot fingers”.

This may seem like semantic quibbling, but I think choice of language is important. My worry is that some beginner will take it literally, plant the finger hard, and create all kinds of parasitic tension.

@dantejms The short answer is yes, though I do tend to agree with the comments by @Tbushell that mean you need to think differently and the word used is far from wanting to be literal.

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Hi! I’m doing the very same thing. But when sliding the the 3rd finger up one fret, I ear the slide… So I was asking myself the same question because of this slide…

Any advice for someone with bigger fingers? I am just getting started, but no matter what I do when playing the D major chord my 3 finger is ALWAYS touching the bottom string with my 2 finger. I have tried moving my hand up more and everything. Any advice for shorter/bigger hands?

I overlooked taking anchor finger practice seriously… and I think I made a big mistake! My one minute changes weren’t anywhere close to passing grade, so I’ve come back to this and am going to give it a solid week or two. Luckily I picked up a spare guitar that I can play on breaks at work, so here’s hoping it goes better this time.

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Here’s my tip for switching from the A to the D chord: keep your anchor finger in place, slide the ring finger over to the B string, third fret and move the middle finger down to the E string, second fret - I promise it works! Good luck, mates!

Hi everyone…

I am a complete newbie to Guitar playing. I have been trying for years to get on to it but my fingers dont help me.

Actually my index finger nail is quite pointed out even after trimming them to the limit. For most people, the skin part is protruded out, but for me the nail is protruded out.
So whenever I put down my finger, my nail hits the fret first and not the skin.

Please help me out